The Breaking the Mould series of resources support nursery and primary phase teachers to think about what books they are using in their classrooms. Using a wider range of good literature is a really quick, exciting and effective way to promote inclusion.
In schools, just as in wider society, we tend to stress the differences between girls and boys far more than the similarities. We need to think of children as individuals and try not to impose expectations on them linked to gender. We can begin by making small changes to the ways in which we constantly differentiate the sexes – such as referring to ‘children’ rather than ‘girls and boys’ and not marshalling pupils in single sex lines.
In this project, the NEU, previously National Union of Teachers (NUT), worked with a small group of primary schools to consider how ‘traditional’ gender stereotypes could be challenged in the classroom. The project quickly acquired the name Breaking The Mould. The five schools were provided with support and training. The Breaking the Mould project team helped the school staff begin their planning by providing them with a range of children’s books which help challenge gender stereotypes. In the course of the project, the schools developed different and creative activities and approaches, but also common themes, emerged.